Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rosemary Writings

What do we complain most about as writers? I have no time and I have nothing to write about. I’ve been reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (excellent read, by the way) and, frankly, that’s bullshit. It’s the same excuses we use for why we don’t want to work out. I’m tired. It hurts. I have no time. I’d rather watch Desperate Housewives… well we’d rather do all that than go to work too, but bills need paid and so we grab our coffee and head off to town. Writing is much the same way. Whatever reason we feel compelled to torture ourselves, there is some kind of benefit, maybe not cash, but perhaps it heals or feeds something in us that when it’s going well, there’s absolutely nothing else we’d rather be doing.

Kind of like farming, but that’s another story all together.

So, nothing to write about, eh?

Well, rosemary is one of the hardest herbs to grow. It actually grows better from a cutting off an established plant than it does from seed. To get the seed to germinate, exact conditions must be met, a perfect harmony of water, light, and heat, a formula which, alas I am unable to give you. Only one of my rosemary plants made it last year and this year I’ve yet to see any emerge. It needs consistency more than anything, it seems, in order to mature into a hardy shrub with light blue flowers. It’s a perennial, so it will keep coming back, lasting years if well taken care of. My rosemary plant even survived Momma Jen throwing it out and then me repotting it, after explaining to MJ that dormant plants are not dead plants.

Rosemary stimulates the urinary organs, helps with headaches, heart palpitations, sleep disorders, depression, and muscle spasms, but can be poisonous if taken to excess. Rosemary prefers dry, well-drained soil, even rocky, with high alkaline content and full sun or slight shade.

Here’s a fun website for more about rosemary and its uses.

So what does all this have to do with having nothing to write about? By trying to start rosemary, you just gave yourself a ton of material. Write about selecting the seeds, from a magazine or at the grocery store, the brightly colored packets and oh-so-easy misleading directions, the smell of the soil you use, the cool water, the feeling of putting tiny seeds into the dark embrace of the ground. Write about checking the starts daily, seeking any sign that any of them made it, the exhilaration as they poke their heads up, the little snap as you snip back the weaker starts. Or if you begin a plant from the cutting of another plant, write about sticking the little guy in the ground and talking to him every day as he gets established, puts down roots, moves the wife and kids in… oh like you don’t talk to your plants, whatever. :-)

Nothing to write about? Bullshit. Look around you. And if all else fails, write about bullshit. I mean it. Manure comes in so many different shapes, consistencies, and colors…oh I so need a hobby...


Rowenna said...

Oh, I love rosemary...mine always seems to grow like gangbusters. Meanwhile, my basil gets blight. I'm a contrary gardener. Plus it smells lovely when you sit next to it and talk to it...I mean read a book. Right, read a book.